Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz is set to lose a portion of his nomination power after the Madison City Council passed an amendment Tuesday that states that all his nominees must be put on the City Council agenda within 31 days instead of being automatically confirmed.
Much of the City Council was unaware of the rule before this Tuesday— not even Mayor Dave Cieslewicz knew about it.
The rule stated that when the mayor made a nomination for a top city position, like in a department or a division, the council had 20 days to confirm or decline that nomination; if they did not, the nomination was automatically confirmed.
Mike Verveer, Madison's City Council President, has been on the City Council for 12 years and has never once heard about the previous amendment.
"That rule has never been enforced in the 12 years that I have been on the City Council," Verveer said. "In fact, I don't think many of us knew about it."
Bill Clingan was nominated to be head of the city’s new Economic Development and Community Development Department, but controversy during debate arose because many of the City Council members, as well as some business members, opposed him.
"It turns out the mayor did not have enough votes to have Clingan confirmed for this position, because the business community was fairly united in their opposition to him being in this top job involving economic development," Verveer said.
Clingan's nomination was delayed, but during that time, Ald. Brenda Konkel, District 2, remembered the old amendment and brought it to the attention of the council.
Under the old rule, Verveer said, Clingan could automatically be confirmed, and no council member supported that.
Due to lack of support from the City Council, Clingan withdrew his nomination.
"Although his nomination is no longer an issue, the City Council last night debated the rule change," Verveer said.
Ald. Julia Kerr, who was in session at the amendment debate, said it was not controversial and took about five minutes to come to a definite decision and make the amendment.
"I think everyone kind of agreed, everyone voted for it, and the mayor was fine with it," Kerr said.
The result of the amendment is that there is now a time frame that requires the City Council to make decisions on mayoral appointments within 31 days, Kerr said.